Tips: Vehicle Theft Protection

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends the following actions under its "layered approach" to vehicle theft protection:

Common Sense -- The common sense approach to protection is the simplest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves. Secure your vehicle even if parking for brief periods. You should always:

  • Remove your keys from the ignition.
  • Lock your doors /close your windows.
  • Park in a well-lit area.

Warning Device -- The second layer of protection is a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Popular second layer devices include:

  • Audible alarms.
  • Steering column collars.
  • Steering wheel/brake pedal lock.
  • Brake locks.
  • Wheel locks.
  • Tire locks/tire deflators.
  • Theft deterrent decals.
  • Identification markers in or on vehicle.
  • VIN etching.
  • Micro dot marking.

Immobilizing Device -- The third layer of protection is a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Popular third layer devices include:

  • Smart keys.
  • Fuse cut-offs.
  • Kill switches.
  • Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers.
  • Wireless ignition authentication.

Tracking Device -- The final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ "telematics" which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

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